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Morton Beroza, USDA chemist

By — Adam Bernstein,

Morton Beroza, 93, a retired research chemist who specialized in insect and pest control at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, died Jan. 12 at the Riderwood Village retirement community in Silver Spring. He had Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Beroza worked at the USDA from 1948 to 1974 and retired as chief of the Agricultural Research Service’s organic chemicals synthesis laboratory. He spent much of his retirement as a consultant to the USDA and companies.

He contributed to hundreds of scientific publications and held 30 patents. In 1997, he was inducted into the Agricultural Research Service’s Science Hall of Fame, which cited his “international reputation for discovering ingenious and inventive tools for controlling insect pests safely within their ecological domain.“

“He developed many environmentally compatible insect control strategies using insect lures, attractants, repellents, and pheromones,” the citation added. “Beroza invented analytical techniques and apparatus now used by chemists worldwide.”

Morton Beroza was a native of New Haven, Conn., and a 1942 chemistry graduate of George Washington University. From Georgetown University, he received a master’s degree in chemistry in 1946 and a doctorate in biochemistry in 1950.

He was a Navy veteran of World War II.

He was a founding member of the Jewish Community Center of Prince George’s County in Greenbelt. He moved to Riderwood Village from Silver Spring about six years ago and since 2005 had been president of the Jewish community organization at Riderwood Village.

Survivors include his wife of 64 years, Hannah Hurwitz Beroza of Riderwood Village; two children, Robert “Crispin” Beroza of Boyds and Rosalyn Beroza of Silver Spring; a sister; and five grandchildren.

— Adam Bernstein

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